Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

Important Second Amendment Case Reheard by Federal Appellate Court

Friday, May 13, 2016

Important Second Amendment Case Reheard by Federal Appellate Court

On Wednesday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reheard the NRA-supported case Kolbe v. Hogan, which challenges Maryland’s bans on various popular semi-automatic rifles and detachable magazines.  In early February, a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit vacated a lower court ruling that upheld the bans, but the court agreed to en banc rehearing before the full fifteen-member court.

John Parker Sweeney, arguing on behalf of Maryland gun owners and firearm businesses, began argument with a very simple explanation for the court.  The Maryland law, like the handgun bans at issue in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago, bans the possession of common firearms that are kept for self-defense within the home, so the law must fail under the Supreme Court’s established precedents.  Under a barrage of questions from the court, Sweeney continually pressed home the point that this case is actually much easier than the Supreme Court’s decision in Heller because the firearms at issue in this case represent the most popular rifles in the country, yet they are used in only a very small number of crimes as compared to handguns. 

While it is impossible to guess how the court will rule in this case, the decision will almost certainly hinge on whether the three-judge panel correctly determined that “strict scrutiny” was the appropriate standard of review.  When courts review constitutional questions of law, they do so under differing standards.  Strict scrutiny is generally applied only where a statute creates a substantial burden on a fundamental right.  The decision to apply strict scrutiny is often seen as fatal to the challenged statute and it would almost certainly be in this case.  The bans in this case, like most gun-control laws, cannot be justified as effective public safety measures under close scrutiny by the judiciary. 

The need for strict scrutiny in cases impacting the right to keep and bear arms is the reason that NRA has led the effort to amend state right to arms provisions to clearly require the application of strict scrutiny.  This effort has already led to constitutional amendments in Alabama, Louisiana, and Missouri and an NRA-supported resolution for a strict scrutiny amendment is currently moving through the Oklahoma legislature.  

While it may seem to many gun owners that these amendments should be superfluous because the right to keep and bear arms is clearly a fundamental constitutional right and therefore deserving of strict scrutiny, several post-Heller courts have applied lower level scrutiny to laws that burden the Second Amendment.  In the Kolbe case, the panel majority’s decision to apply strict scrutiny represents an extremely important step for gun rights litigation because it ensures that the Second Amendment is given the same protection as other fundamental constitutional rights.  It may be several months before the court issues its en banc decision, but you can be sure that your NRA-ILA will keep you apprised of any further developments in this important case.

BY NRA-ILA Staff

TRENDING NOW
Oregon: Anti-Gun Bill Heads to Senate Floor

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Oregon: Anti-Gun Bill Heads to Senate Floor

Yesterday, on the deadline for policy bills to move out of committee, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to pass Senate Bill 719 with its -5 amendment.  Because a number of bills were effectively dead for ...

Chicago: Mayor Emanuel Demands Tougher Laws for Gun Dealers as Straw Purchaser Gets Probation

News  

Friday, April 21, 2017

Chicago: Mayor Emanuel Demands Tougher Laws for Gun Dealers as Straw Purchaser Gets Probation

On Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel met with representatives of the UCAN organization to make the case for further gun controls to combat the city’s violent crime. Chicago’s WLS reported that Emanuel used the opportunity ...

Pennsylvania: Firearms Preemption Bill Heads to the House Floor Next Week

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Pennsylvania: Firearms Preemption Bill Heads to the House Floor Next Week

Today, April 19, the House Judiciary Committee passed House Bill 671 by a 20-5 vote. HB 671 is scheduled to go before the full House for consideration next week.  Anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg and the gun ...

California: One Gun a Month Bill Passes Senate Public Safety Committee

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

California: One Gun a Month Bill Passes Senate Public Safety Committee

On Tuesday April 18, the Senate Public Safety Committee passed SB 497 by a party-line vote and will be assigned to the Senate Appropriations committee for further consideration.  On Monday, April 17, the Senate Appropriations Committee sent ...

California: Open Carry Ban Passes in the Assembly

Friday, April 21, 2017

California: Open Carry Ban Passes in the Assembly

Yesterday, the state Assembly passed Assembly Bill 7 by a vote of 44 to 29.   AB 424 was not considered during yesterday’s floor session, however it remains eligible for a vote at any time.  

The Prosecutors and the Pagans: Two Sides of the Empire State’s Gun Laws

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Prosecutors and the Pagans: Two Sides of the Empire State’s Gun Laws

Early this month, members of the gun-control group Prosecutors Against Gun Violence met at a “Manhattan Summit” and took the time to express their dismay and alarm over federal bills proposing national concealed carry reciprocity. ...

“F” Stands for Fail: School Jeopardizes Student’s Future for Possession of Squirt Gun

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, April 21, 2017

“F” Stands for Fail: School Jeopardizes Student’s Future for Possession of Squirt Gun

Public education’s long-running “zero tolerance” war against anything that suggests the idea of a firearm (including, for example, clothing, gestures, toys, food, computer images, and favorable opinions of self-defense) has claimed another victim. This time ...

For 2017, A Historic NRA-ILA Leadership Forum

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, April 21, 2017

For 2017, A Historic NRA-ILA Leadership Forum

For the past decade, NRA-ILA has sponsored leadership forums that have allowed our members to hear directly from national leaders.  Next Friday, that tradition continues and the line up of speakers is top notch.

Washington: Governor Inslee Signs Bill for Permit Renewal Notices

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Washington: Governor Inslee Signs Bill for Permit Renewal Notices

Today, Governor Inslee signed House Bill 1100.  Sponsored by state Representative David Taylor (R-15), HB 1100 creates a renewal notice postcard for concealed pistol licenses that will be sent out 90 days before the expiration beginning ...

NRA Congratulates Senate for Passing Bill to Expand Self-Defense

News  

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

NRA Congratulates Senate for Passing Bill to Expand Self-Defense

The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) congratulates the Alabama State Senate for passing Senate Bill 24 – a Constitutional Carry bill that would expand the options of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves. ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.